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As things dry and get warmer, the cut height becomes somewhat critical. Grass plants in nature are not designed to be cut and their height protects them from heat and also aids moisture conservation. This being the case, we should be cutting as high as we can over the next few weeks until the threat of hot weather recedes.
With the soil drying out and becoming more friable, it is an ideal time to aerate which helps to break up any soil compaction and aid water and air movement as well as increasing root production. As we have had a couple of drier years, it is important that we look after the soil to get a better root system and also manage the rain we do get to make sure it is not wasted. To help make sure that the rain passes into the root zone and does not evaporate, we need to make sure the soil is not only in good condition but we can also apply soil wetting agents to those soils with dry patch problems.
With the dry weather, we have seen a large increase in issues with Box Moth Caterpillars. We have been applying insecticides on many hedges and topiary and we do expect a second generation later in the summer. These pests can be devastating so we are putting in place a program of preventative treatments for 2020.
After the heatwave of 2018, we were hoping for a wet winter but it was very dry into the spring. We had some very welcome rain in June but the dry conditions and cold soil temperatures meant that germination of seed in any renovated areas was difficult other than areas where it was possible for them to be watered very regularly. Some of these areas we are looking to dress with seed in late August when we expect conditions to be much more favourable.
As we move into early autumn, we will be looking to start any renovations with scarifying starting in late August. This time of year is perfect for removing thatch and overseeding. For those lawns where we are not carrying out cultural work, we will be looking to increase root structure with targeted nutrition as the moisture levels increase. We will also be looking to start moss control to make sure we are on top of it before winter.